It all begins with love
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 NIV. God made and always will make the first move. We love Him because He first loved us. And it is only as we start to really realize how much He loves us that we are able to really love Him.
We don’t live a good life so we get a chance at heaven. We don’t grow in love for God by trying harder. We don’t even concentrate our energy on producing the fruit of the Spirit. Why? Because if we could live a good life by trying hard enough we wouldn’t need God. If our old man could have been fixed up Jesus wouldn’t have needed to die for us.
Our work is to believe what God says about what He has done for us. To believe Him when he says our old man is dead and buried, crucified with Christ. And to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV
Every thought that does not line up with what God says about us is from the old, dead man and we need to replace it with a positive one. Because God will not help us work on our old nature. It is broken beyond repair. That is why Jesus said we must be born again. While we were still dead in sin, Christ died and gave us His life. He has already done everything. All that is causing delay is for us to realize that and start believing it.
Jesus came to enable us to have exactly the same relationship with our Father that He had. God the Father never stopped loving His children. But when we fell into sin, we lost our relationship with the Father because sin cannot stand in His presence. By living on earth as a man, yet never doing anything wrong and then giving His life, Jesus opened the way to the Father. So He was the firstborn among many brothers. Christ suffered for us to restore us to a right relationship with God in spite of the fact that we make so many mistakes.
The Jews thought they knew how to please God. They thought they had the ways of God figured out, but today we look back and wonder how they could have been so blind. They had enough rules for right living to fill volumes of today’s books, but failed miserably when it came to what mattered the most. Jesus told them““Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” Matthew 23:23 Another time He said,”go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”” Matthew 9:13 NIV. The Jews crucified Jesus and convinced themselves they were pleasing God by doing it. How is it with us? What are we doing that is just as far from reflecting the true nature of God?